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Alternative Names Return to topBenign pseudohypertrophic muscular dystrophy; Becker's dystrophy
Definition Return to top
Becker's muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder that involves slowly worsening muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis.
Causes Return to top
Becker's muscular dystrophy is very similar to Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, except that it gets worse at a much slower rate.
The disorder is inherited. Women rarely develop symptoms. Men will develop symptoms if they inherit the defective gene.
Becker's muscular dystrophy occurs in approximately 3 - 6 out of every 100,000 males.
Because this is an inherited disorder, risks include having a family history of Becker's muscular dystrophy.
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms usually appear in men at about age 12, but may sometimes begin later.
Symptoms may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider will do a nervous system (neurological) and muscle examination. A careful medical history is also important, because the pattern of symptom development resembles that of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. However, Becker's muscular dystrophy gets worse much more slowly.
An exam may find:
Treatment Return to top
There is no known cure for Becker's muscular dystrophy. Treatment tries to control symptoms to maximize quality of life. Some doctors prescribe steroids to help keep a patient walking for as long as possible.
Activity is encouraged. Inactivity (such as bed rest) can worsen the muscle disease. Physical therapy may be helpful to maintain muscle strength. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs may improve mobility and self-care.
Genetic counseling may be advisable. Sons of a man with Becker's muscular dystrophy do not develop the disorder, but daughters may be carriers. The daughters' sons may develop the disorder.
Support Groups Return to top
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See muscular dystrophy - support group.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Becker's muscular dystrophy leads to slowly worsening disability. Death may occur in the 50s or 60s, but patients can live longer than that.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if:
Prevention Return to top
Genetic counseling may be advised if there is a family history of Becker's muscular dystrophy.
References Return to top
Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Muscular dystrophies. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 608.Update Date: 12/17/2008 Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.